Balochistan: 15 killed as bus rams into vehicle smuggling Iranian oil

Pakistani volunteers carry a body of an accident victim at a hospital in Quetta on Dec. 13, 2019. (AP)
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Updated 13 December 2019

Balochistan: 15 killed as bus rams into vehicle smuggling Iranian oil

  • Truck smuggling Iranian oil managed to evade customs check
  • Bodies of victims were charred beyond recognition

KARACHI: At least 15 people were killed when a truck carrying Iranian oil collided with a passenger bus in southwestern Pakistan, officials said on Friday.
“Fifteen bodies were brought to the hospital,” Dr. Waseem Baig, spokesman of a civil hospital in Quetta, Balochistan, told Arab News. The bodies were charred beyond recognition and “DNA tests will be conducted to identify the deceased,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Killa Saifullah district, Atiq Shahwani, said the bus with 12 passengers from Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab collided with the truck near Muslim Bagh area. “The vehicles caught fire and 13 people died,” Shahwani told Arab News, adding the bus owner said that fourteen people, including a driver and a conductor, were on board when the accident happened. “One man has survived,” he said.
When told that the hospital said 15 bodies had been brought to its morgue, Shahwani said the two others might be the truck’s driver and his passenger.
“Four vehicles smuggling Iranian fuel, taking advantage of heavy snowfall, wanted to pass by a levies checkpoint last night when security forces spotted them. Three big vehicles were caught but the small pick-up truck managed to escape and collided with the bus in the morning,” Shahwani said, adding the authorities had zero tolerance for smuggling and had caught 15,000 liters of smuggled Iranian diesel and oil just a few days ago. “There is a continuous crackdown,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gul Muhammad, the only survivor of the accident, told reporters he was asleep when the accident took place and immediately jumped out of the bus when he saw flames. He identified one passenger his nephew Ataullah, a resident of Chaman in Balochistan. The driver was identified as Abdullah, whose son Arif also died in the accident. 
Home Minister Ziaullah Langove has expressed his displeasure over the incident and asked the authorities to identify those responsible for the lapse.
“Why has the smuggling not been stopped despite the strict ban?” he said.
Deaths due to oil smuggling are frequent in Balochistan. At least 27 people were killed in January in a similar accident. 
In October, a pick-up carrying Iranian fuel collided with a vehicle of the Commissioner of Makran Division, retired Cpt. Tariq Zehri, killing the senior bureaucrat and prompting authorities to start the crackdown on the smugglers.
“Following the tragic accident of the Commissioner Makran Division, who was a lovely human being, all commissioners and deputy commissioners have been instructed in writing to check all motorcycles, jeeps, cars, pickups, buses and trucks, laden with POL containers,” Balochistan Chief Secretary Cpt. Fazeel Asghar tweeted after the accident.
Customs authorities and the Frontier Corps have also been requested to prevent the smuggling of petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) products into Pakistan, he said.

Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

Updated 3 min 21 sec ago

Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

  • One of the ten Nepalese mountaineers performed the feat without using an oxygen cylinder
  • K2 earned the nickname of ‘savage mountain’ since a large number of climbers lost their lives while trying to scale it

ISLAMABAD: A group of Nepalese climbers made history on Saturday by summiting the world’s second tallest mountain, K2, in winter, according to its team leader who made the announcement on Facebook only minutes after making the accomplishment. 

“The Karakorum’s ‘Savage Mountain’ has been summited in the most dangerous season: WINTER,” Chhang Dawa Sherpa exclaimed in his social media post.

His announcement was also confirmed by an official of the Alpine Club of Pakistan which deals with mountaineering expeditions in the country.

At 8,611 meters, K2 was the only peak among the 14 “8000ers” located in the Karakorum and Himalayan mountain ranges that remained unconquered during winter. 

Along the icy glaciers of the Karakoram, mountaineers and locals speak about K2 summits with a hushed reverence, and folklore in the area is rife with mythical stories of the mountain “permitting” climbers to reach its top — considered the ultimate honor granted to a mortal by nature. 

When a climb doesn't go as planned, locals tell each other the mountain refused to be scaled. 

“The Nepalese climbers finally reached the summit of Mt. K2 … this afternoon at 17:00 local time,” Dawa wrote. “This is the first winter ascent of the 2nd highest mountain in the world and the ONLY eight-thousander (8000er) to be climbed in winter. This is a greatest achievement in the history of mountaineering, this is a good example of team work … ‘If a mountain lets you climb it, no one can stop you.’” 

One of the ten Nepalese climbers, Mingma G, also became the first mountaineer to summit the peak in winter without an oxygen cylinder.

K2 earned the nickname of “savage mountain” since a large number of climbers — 86 in all — lost their lives while trying to scale it. 

In 2008, 11 climbers from an international expedition died in what was considered as the single worst accident in the history of mountaineering. 

K2 straddles the Pakistan-China border. While it is about two-and-a-half football fields shorter than Everest (8,848 meters), it is widely considered to be the toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb. 

More than 300 climbers have scaled K2 in spring and summer. Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first to reach its summit in the summer of 1954.